Are You From Dixie?

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Uncle Dave Macon was one of the oldest musicians recorded on the Anthology – he was born in 1870. Uncle Dave’s father ran a hotel in Nashville where young Dave learned to play the banjo from the touring musicians who stopped there. He didn’t begin to play professionally until the early 1920’s, after his freight company failed (he used mules, which were falling out of fashion). Since his playing style and repertoire were established so early, he represents a rare link to the minstrel era of the mid-1800’s. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any good video of Uncle Dave, but here’s something by Grandpa Jones, whose performing persona owes a lot to Macon’s. Grandpa Jones was a Grand Ole Opry performer for many years and achieved his greatest fame as a regular on the 1970’s series Hee Haw. Grandpa plays banjo in the old frailing style and while we can’t be sure how close his performance style is to Uncle Dave’s, my guess is they have a good deal in common. Have fun!

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